Though harshly treated, he submitted and did not open his mouth; like a lamb led to the slaughter or a sheep silent before shearers, he did not open his mouth. (Is 53:7)
I seem to remember in Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ that, when Jesus was given His Cross and embraced it, one of those crucified with Him cried out telling Him not to do so. It gives the impression that this is not something that someone about to be crucified typically did. Rather, it is indicative of one who is “meek and humble of heart.” While this particular portrayal of Jesus embracing His Cross is not related in the Gospel accounts, it does express well the above verse from Isaiah: He went along willingly. Why? Why embrace the instrument of your death? Why embrace that which will bring you excruciating pain? Because it is the way of love. In love and mercy we are redeemed. In love Jesus embraced His Cross because He knew it was not just the instrument of His death, but the instrument of life and redemption, of the restoration of man to God. So, yes, love. In love He created us; in love He became incarnate for us; and in love He redeemed us.
To embrace our own cross and follow Him, is to do the same. The crosses of life are inescapable. We can neither run nor hide from them; if we simply confront them relying on our own strength, we will find that we are weak. The Cross is a fact of life, and there is only one response that does not result in our being crushed: to embrace it in love – love of our Lord, love of our neighbor including our enemies, and to suffer as co-redeemers with Him for ourselves and for all people.